Welcome the Patch 6.12, the ARAM patch. While there are a decent amount of non-Howling-Abyss changes here, we figured we’d take this opportunity to speak directly to the poro-lovers of Murder Bridge.
We don’t often make straight adjustments to ARAM as a mode, so let’s slap some context on that. While we don’t plan to ever fully balance a random mode given the obscure (and sometimes soul-crushing) compositions it can churn out, we’re confident we can make some pretty big wins by easing some of the more obvious outliers. That means addressing the dominance of healers and poke teams, as well as giving melee champions (and gold-starved classes of all shapes and sizes) a better shot at equal footing. You can read more on the changes below, but all-random players: Snowdown’s come early.
For those that prefer their maps a little less frozen, we’ve still got changes you can sink your teeth into. Much of this patch is focused on light tweaks (especially on the items and mastery side) to nudge certain classes and builds upwards or downwards in the hopes of letting those stuck in the middle shine through. Slap on some extra scalings here and there (and a whole 6 seconds off Corki’s rank 1 dash) and you’ll see that, ARAM or otherwise, this patch is all about the little guys.
And that’s all for us! Until next time – may all your Marks lead to Dashes, and your Dashes lead to sweet, sweet victory.
Good luck, have fun.
Patrick “Scarizard” Scarborough
W cooldown adjusted. E deals more damage and stacks his shred faster.
Continuing our work from last patch, we’re giving Corki some love to help reclaim the mid-game power he once possessed. As we progress on the (flight) path of Corki buffs, we’re taking care to emphasize his unique traits rather than give him generic strength. This time around, smoother Gatling Gun shreddage and more ROFLcoptering should play up Corki’s fantasy of ‘yordle fighter pilot’.
W – Valkyrie
E – Gatling Gun
Fizz’s hitbox is larger. W base damage down, E cooldown up.
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before – a sticky assassin builds primarily defense and is hard to interact with. Snark aside, Fizz’s changes this patch are just another shade of Ekko’s from updates past – namely, cutting the amount of base damage he has access to and limiting his effectiveness with cooldown reduction. Expanding on that last point, cooldown reduction was previously a hard stat to come by – making things like ‘8 second cooldown on Playful/Trickster’ feel more acceptable, given the inherent sacrifices in Fizz’s build. Now that we’re embracing CDR heavy builds, limiting what Fizz (and other assassins like him) can do when capped is key to their long-term health. In the end, these changes should make Fizz less threatening when he’s not investing in the necessary offense.
W – Seastone Trident
E – Playful / Trickster
Backstab displays a separate damage number.
When champions can turn front or back on a dime, knowing when someone’s facing towards or away from you can be a bit of a challenge. Cassiopeia’s Petrifying Gaze gets around this by showing you some pretty clear feedback – ‘are they stunned? Guess they were facing me.’ For Shaco, this isn’t always so simple. Factor in all the different ways that Shaco can amplify his basic attacks (critical strike, Deceive’s bonus damage, sheen, etc) and you can lose track of whether or not you’re actually backstabbing pretty quickly. This is a very long context to say something pretty simple: if you see more sets of numbers, you’re doing it right.
Passive – Backstab
W and E ratios up.
Syndra’s fantasy as an all-powerful transcendent being has always been at odds with her power curve in-game. Traditionally, Syndra spikes hard mid-game, looking to ride a series of Scatter the Weak stuns to pick off stragglers, leading her team to a massive advantage. While that part of the bargain’s stayed constant post mid-season, Syndra’s now falling off harder than anticipated. Tossing power into Syndra’s scaling should give her a nice fall-back when struggling, as well as push her even further ahead when unleashing her power.
W – Force of Will
E – Scatter the Weak
Base health and health per level up.
Xin’s taken a hit in a post-Devourer world, but for most of the game we’re actually pretty happy with the pace of his damage after diving in. Pre-6.9, Devourer + Rageblade allowed Xin to kill enemies too quickly – they’d rarely have time to react. Rather than tune his damage up (and shorten that reaction window again), we’re upping Xin’s durability to keep him feeling happy about ramming his face into the back lines, especially given his lack of an exit-strategy once committed.
W and R now have indicators.
While our last round of changes to Zed in 6.11 have made him less powerful, fighting him can still be a daunting task. Even though some of Zed’s inherent frustration is intended (it’s his job to kill people and dying isn’t really fun), we’re always looking into addressing that frustration head-on without removing his ability to compete. To that end, we’ve added some shiny new indicators to Zed’s shadows to keep foes out of the dark when he starts his shifting-shenanigans. We like Zed’s skill-intensive plays, but getting the upper hand simply because your opponents can’t see what you’re doing isn’t fair.
Standard marksman itemization is centered around combining a B.F. Sword upgrade and a Zeal upgrade. This pairing is an engine of efficiency for basic attack strength: attack damage adds raw power, while crit chance and attack speed multiply it. Stats from subsequent items further fuel this engine, which is why most marksmen excel as late-game damage threats.
At present, the two-item threshold is slightly less impactful than it should be for the 6k+ gold investment it demands. Marksmen shouldn’t transform into unstoppable killing machines with just two items, but they should at least feel like they can contribute to their teams. We’re adding a bit more bang for the buck to ensure a marksman’s initial gold investment feels like progress toward late game power, not just a prerequisite for it.
Essentially the same context as Infinity Edge above. Go read that.
Last Whisper’s upgrades give marksmen options to pierce through defense-stacking foes, sacrificing generic damage for effectiveness against tanks. In their current state, however, these ‘options’ are only viable when their effects can be applied to multiple enemies. At 40 AD, Lord Dominik’s and Mortal Reminder force an excessively high damage tradeoff versus, say, The Bloodthirster or Mercurial Scimitar. In other words, investing in them hamstrings a marksman’s ability to kill anything that’s not a tank. We’re giving Lord Dominik’s and Mortal Reminder a bump so itemizing against the enemy frontline doesn’t forfeit your ability to fight their backline.
Reminder that we gave context for this change in the Lord Dominik’s section above!
The combine cost of Bilgewater Cutlass pays exclusively for its active effect – you gain no stats by upgrading it. 400 gold is a steep price for a small slow and a bit of damage, so we’re dropping the cost to more reasonable levels.
Just as marksmen scale with critical strike and attack speed, casters and assassins scale with cooldown reduction and flat armor penetration. Youmuu’s Ghostblade fills this ‘core scaling item’ niche for casters and assassins, but also everyone who builds AD due to how much power it brings in raw stats. We want Ghostblade to stay useful for the classes it serves, so rather than reduce its secondary stats, we’re shaving off a bit of attack damage. Combined with buffs to other AD items this patch, we’re hoping the relative difference is sufficient to create a meaningful tradeoff for picking Youmuu’s if CDR and flat pen aren’t your main stats.
Cost increased. Health restore on mana spend decreased.
There are two issues here, so let’s tackle them separately. First off, Rod itself is a little too efficient. We want to preserve the item’s appeal to its core users (i.e. mages that need the health for close-quarters brawling with large mana-sinks), but Rod’s statline is such a strong incentive at present that even non-Rod users are making the switch – so we’re taking it down a peg.
As for the other changes, that’s more to do with Catalyst’s upgrades at large than Rod specifically. Simply put, the sustain that Catalyst’s mana to health conversion gives seems fair for the stage of the game in which you initially pick it up, but gets out of line as users amass even larger mana pools to bolster their health bars. Considering ‘amassing larger mana pools’ is what catalyst users actually want to do, we’re cutting the sustain instead.
Health restore on mana spend decreased.
Like we said in the above section, Catalyst’s upgrades heal too much once you start getting a big mana pool. Context!
Health restore on mana spend decreased.
We’re not going to repeat ourselves. Scroll up to the other sections!
More damage, less sustain.
Despite our efforts earlier this season, Grasp of the Undying is still far too common in the top lane, crowding out other keystone masteries. Grasp is supposed to give tanks a little more oomph in combat, but its sustain is fairly excessive, cheapening the risk and reward of aggressive action. Grasp of the Undying should still be the go-to mastery for beefy solo lane champions, but combat from Grasp users will now mean something rather than immediately being sustained away.
Abilities give fewer stacks.
Fervor of Battle is simply too good at what it does. It works great as a basic attacker’s best friend, letting those with attack speed quickly gain stacks. Currently, single target abilities grant stacks of Fervor as well – twice as many as a basic attack, to be precise. While abilities should count toward building Fervor, champions who work spellcasts into their attack cycles are overperforming in the race to full stacks. We’re maintaining Fervor of Battle as a great choice for attack speed lovers while leveling the playing field in the marksman mastery space.
Same benefits for all, regardless of range.
For ranged champions, the risk/reward nature of Double Edged Sword doesn’t hold a candle to the power of Feast. The benefits Double Edged Sword offers to melee champions give them respectable value, so we’re bringing ranged champions up to speed.
More ability power and attack damage early. Less ability power and attack damage per level.
In an effort to make Natural Talent more competitive with the sustain of Vampirism, we decided to shift its power forward towards the early game. Natural Talent still grows with champions who have the potential to deal mixed damage, but now the effects are felt a little earlier.
Veteran’s Scars is close to a good place but the wide range of situations in which Runic Armor can be helpful (healing, shields, etc.) means Veteran Scars needs a nudge if it wants to be a relevant alternative. Also, #cleannumbers are just better, it’s science.
Chimes now spawn faster on Howling Abyss.
In a lot of ways, ARAM is a fun-sized League of Legends experience, compressing many of the core elements of Summoner’s Rift (laning, teamfighting, killing towers) into a shorter, streamlined experience. To account for the shorter game duration, ARAM dishes out accelerated gold and experience. This appropriately compensates most champions: put in gold/experience and they get stronger at a pretty consistent rate. A few champions break that convention, drawing their scaling from some secondary source that correlates loosely with time spent in game. Those champions are currently missing out on a good deal of their identity, so we’re cleaning up their experience on The Howling Abyss.
Bard’s secondary scaling comes from his chimes, which spawn at a fixed duration. We’re giving more chimes to grab so that he can still get his meep on.
Passive – Traveler’s Call
Q stacks per kill doubled on Howling Abyss.
With nine other people in his lane, Nasus doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for the right minion to siphon, so we’re giving him double value on all unit stacks, not just the cannon.
Q – Siphoning Strike
Souls count twice on Howling Abyss.
Bard needs his chimes, Nasus needs his stacks and Thresh needs his souls. It’s a two-for-one soul sale on The Howling Abyss! And yes, that means Nunu is worth four souls.
Passive – Damnation
Summoner Spell Cooldowns
Most summoner spell cooldowns reduced by 40% on Howling Abyss.
ARAM’s a fast-paced mode, so it stands to reason that the high-cooldown high-impact design of summoner spells don’t really mesh with the map’s identity. In the name of letting players use the spells they want instead of feeling locked into the ones they can use the most, we’re aggressively tuning their cadence to fit better with ARAM’s playstyle.
You’ll notice that Clarity and Mark / Dash are missing from the list. We’re taking the opportunity to tune their effects rather than just their cooldowns – more on that in a second.
Howling Abyss summoner spell cooldowns
Cooldown increased. Snowball width decreased.
We’re happy with the effect Mark/Dash has had on ARAM since its addition (i.e. letting Olaf and Udyr actually play), but widespread adoption of the spell has shown that it’s a little too warping on the average game.
Cooldown reduced. Restores more mana to the caster but less to nearby allies.
With extra summoner spell cooldown coming to Howling Abyss, we’re looking to keep Clarity from going off the rails in terms of the mana that it provides to an entire team. These large infusions of mana disproportionately benefit already-powerful poke compositions, so we’re focusing Clarity on filling your own mana pool rather than your ally’s.
Like Homeguard, but at the beginning of Howling Abyss matches.
One of the core problems with ARAM is how quickly matches snowball out of control given a few early deaths. While we’re tackling that issue on multiple fronts this patch, part of this is due to how much experience you miss during the long walk from fountain to frontline. We’re happy with the game’s pacing beyond these formative moments, so we’re specifically targeting the early-game. This should help the more “courageous” combatants make it back without missing too much (as well as limit the impact an early AFK can have on a match).
Experience requirement per level decreased. Experience per kill decreased. Both now match Summoner’s Rift values.
Following our Homestart buff above, we’re tinkering with the overall flow of experience to further curb some of the early snowballing that tends to decide ARAM matches. Getting kills early on (or conversely, dying at the start) can create level discrepancies too wide for some teams to come back from. We’re not including numbers here (because experience tables are probably the most complicated and arcane systems in League), but the net result is that teams will see smoother level curves on their way to end-game, with kills making up less of that total. This means champions hit meaningful levels much closer to one another instead of ‘oh god they all hit 6 and we’re all level 4’.
Ambient gold up. Base gold per kill increased. Minion gold no longer scales with time.
Rounding out our anti-snowballing changes, we’re cleaning up gold distribution between team members. Big purchases are coming along a little more slowly than we’d like, especially for champions who find it difficult to fight for their share of minion kills. The takeaway here is that you can totally still snipe your teammates’ last hits (it builds character), but everyone should get to their items a little sooner.
Mana restore down. Respawn time increased.
Health packs were designed as a fallback for getting poked out on a map that has only one lane. However, the amount of raw mana each pack gives usually works against that goal, giving more ammunition to the artillery champions it was meant to defend against. Given the dominance of poke champions on ARAM, we’re limiting the mana sustain and raw uptime of Health Packs to give non-poke teams a chance to fight back.
Space between center brushes increased. Bases are slightly larger.
Wrapping up our larger systemic changes to Howling Abyss is just some housekeeping (bridge-keeping?) to the map’s layout. Unlike some of our changes to Summoner’s Rift in the past (like removing some brush), these are actually incredibly minor nudges to give a little more space in places you’d expect to be able to path. It’s entirely possible that you may never perceive these changes directly, but we figured we’d let you know we made them anyways.
Removed various starting, vision, and alternate-map-specific items.
This section’s a bit of a grab bag, so we’ll rapidfire a few explanations. First: we like the safe efficiency of Doran’s items, but not the inventory bloat of stacking them. We’re replacing the Doran’s series with the Guardian’s items – see below. Next: Arcane Sweeper and Lightbringer were meant to balance out Howling Abyss’s lack of wards, but ended up as permanent, mandatory counters to certain champs (even if their stats weren’t desirable). We’re retiring them and beefing up Oracle’s Extract instead. Finally: Entropy and Wicked Hatchet were what we call ‘trap’ choices: they could be cool, but never lived up to their potential and were usually just wastes of gold. Sometimes a ‘trap’ item’s niche is interesting enough to go back and fill properly, but that’s not the case here.
Now, say one final farewell to our departing friends!
Orb of Winter
Persists through death. Now detects nearby hidden units, similar to Sweeping Lens.
On Summoner’s Rift, where you have trinkets, detecting hidden units is as easy as buying a Sweeping Lens. But ARAM doesn’t play by your rules, Summoner’s Rift! Right now, the two detection items – The Lightbringer and Arcane Sweeper – are pretty niche purchases that only some champions want. Rather than bloat the game with stealth items for everybody, we’re removing those two and giving Oracle’s Extract some much needed love. The duration prevents Oracle’s Extract from spelling disaster for stealth champions. But replenishing your Extracts every time you die is pretty harsh for a map where you can’t heal up.
Howling Abyss replacement for Doran’s Shield.
The Doran’s line of items offers something very specific in Summoner’s Rift: cheap, efficient laning power. Given that ARAM often resembles an eternal 10-man laning phase, Doran’s items seem like a natural fit. However, with much higher starting gold, it’s often much more efficient to dive straight into mid-tier items and hasten your power spike. We’re replacing the Doran’s items with souped up and cost-appropriate versions that won’t hog all of your inventory slots.
Doran’s Shield already feels made for ARAM, with damage reduction to weather the trade-heavy ARAM life, and health regeneration to sustain through it. While the new Guardian’s Horn is stronger in both aspects, we chose to lean harder into the sustain to make melee champions feel like they aren’t doomed once they take a little poke without in turn making them too tanky to burst down.
Reducing incoming damage
Howling Abyss replacement for Doran’s Blade.
Much like Doran’s Shield, Doran’s Blade doesn’t require much tweaking to fit ARAM. While we are enhancing the the raw combat stats, the bulk of the gold value increase is coming from a good deal more lifesteal, so users have the sustain they need.
Howling Abyss replacement for Doran’s Ring.
Doran’s Ring requires slightly more substantial tweaks than the other two Doran’s items, thanks to its passive. Without a lane of minions all to themselves, Doran’s Ring users feel a bit underwhelmed by the mana-on-kill. Instead, we’re replacing that power with flat mana regen, so you don’t have to steal every minion from your teammates just to have mana.
Now on Howling Abyss.
Holding on to our ARAM-as-extended-10-man-laning-phase metaphor, ARAM exacerbates the gold drain of potions. Having access to repeatable potions should make players feel better about their ability to withstand heavy poke.
All proceeds will be donated toward fighting Noxian animal cruelty.
Right now, fattening up a Poro until it explodes takes a good deal of coordination, not just from your own team, but the opposing team as well. While we do want to see more glorious Poro explosions, we don’t want to just hand out free power. Instead, we hope to ensure that the team that is better able to control objectives will be rewarded with a faster Snaxplosion. We’ll check back in future patches to make sure this isn’t snowballing games too hard out of control.
/Remake launches this patch, testing in NA for around a week before revolving around the world.
If you don’t remember, /remake lets you immediately resolve a 4v5 game at the three-minute mark without taking a loss. The missing player tanks responsibility through Leaver Buster for making everyone else requeue.
Champ Mastery’s making its way to Howling Abyss and Twisted Treeline over the course of 6.12!
Champ Mastery’s now on all maps. Finally.
- Fixed a bug where turrets on Howling Abyss and Twisted Treeline were dealing slightly more damage to champions than intended
- Fixed a few interactions between Hextech Protobelt-01’s active and empowered attacks (ex. Ekko’s E – Phase Dive)
- Fixed a bug where Elise’s E – Cocoon stun was cut short if, after casting Cocoon, Elise instantly switched to R – Spider Form and cast E – Rappel on the Cocoon’d target
- When Xin Zhao attacks Jax during E – Counterstrike, the attacks Jax dodges no longer count as hits for Xin’s W – Battle Cry’s healing passive
- Sion can no longer restart his Q – Decimating Smash in a different direction by pressing R+Q during Decimating Smash’s channel
- Fixed a visual bug where Lux could sometimes appear to cast multiple R – Final Sparks in rapid succession. Only the final Final Spark was real! Ghost lasers should no longer appear.
- The spectral riders of Headless Hecarim’s R – Onslaught of Shadows are once again visible. Still spooky, though.
- Restored warning particles when Snow Day Gnar and Gentleman Gnar are about to transform
- Snow Day Gnar’s E – Hop attack speed buff particles no longer cut off at certain angles
- Shadowfire Kindred’s basic attack particles are now easier to see
- Fixed a bug where Shadowfire Kindred’s Wolf would appear as two Wolves stacked on top of each other to everyone except Kindred
- Omega Squad Teemo no longer copies Classic Teemo’s movement voiceover lines when both are in the same game
- Pool Party Mundo’s busted ukelele no longer jitters on the ground at the end of his recall animation